A few weeks back I went up to Camp Arbolado and those of you that know me, you know it’s a must that I go up at least once during the summer because I love it that much. Most of you who have never been to camp before probably wouldn’t understand this love and it’s one of those things where you just have to experience it for yourself to get what I’m talking about.
I don’t think I could have asked for a better group of girls ever, they were that amazing. Lindsay (my co) and I had five girls that were all 10, three of which were from mainland China as well as a teacher that accompanied them; so as you can imagine the first few days were a bit difficult with the language barrier.
Our cabin just clicked with each other and if you’ve been a camp counselor before, you know what I’m talking about and that’s the best group to have. The language barrier didn’t last long once we found out that we didn’t have to speak each others languages to understand one another and it just all happened without even trying (if only this happened each session) and that in itself made this session that much more special to me.
Lindsay and I had gone shopping for cabin decorations about a week before and came across a turtle pinata and we fell in love with it and of course because this whole thing about me and turtles started a few sessions back, I just had to get it. The girls decided that it was going to be our mascot and we were going to be called the ‘oogways’ which is turtle in Chinese. We even changed Beyonce’s Single Ladies a bit to go with our cabin name so that was interesting to say the least.
The girls were able to try new activities such as the climbing wall which many hadn’t tried before and I was so proud of them because not one of them gave up until they reached the top which was quite an accomplishment for a few of them.
Once we were able to get across to our Chinese girls what ‘Dress Your Counselor’ meant, they had a blast! It was neat to see them go at it because they had never seen something like this happen before let alone seeing someone go out for others to see.
My girls didn’t want Lindsay and I to be the only ones looking funny so they decided to dress up funky as well
We were able to learn basket weaving as the Native American’s did and it was a task learning how to do it. I’m just glad I wasn’t the only one that had problems learning :) Yuija on the other hand seemed to be a natural at it so she helped the other girls out at the beginning.
Every session I bring a big jar of peanut butter for my girls and I think this was the first session where they all loved it. The end of the week we ended up taking the jar with us around to our activities. I found it pretty funny seeing all these girls walking around camp with their spoonful of peanut butter but you sure knew who’s cabin they belonged to :)
The Primitives out hike… And as my girls would put it, “Oh my lady gaga!” It was the best hike I’ve been on. The best way to describe it would have to be ‘out of context.’ I don’t think I’ve laughed as hard all week until that night and I definitely won’t be forgetting it anytime soon. And of course Lijia pouring hot chocolate on Jacob’s head because he wouldn’t get off the girl’s sleeping bags…hilarious!
After the hike the girls were drained beyond belief. They had an amazing time at the dance and boy were they dancing machines! Lijia was so tired after she fell asleep in her dress, talk about adorable.
This one week was unbelievable and one I don’t see myself forgetting about anytime soon. I love all my girls, including the ones I had years ago and each session I manage to keep my tears in because I knew I’d see them again. This time around though was different. There is a 99% chance that I won’t see my girls again this time around since they are from China and not being able to see what kind of young women they grow up to be was depressing and sure enough, when the last day arrived I was a mess. Waiting for our girls to be picked up though was the toughest because it wasn’t like they were going one by one as it usually happens, Yuijia, Lijia, and Xiao were all leaving at the same time and that hurt because we had grown so attached to them in that one week. Just as I got myself under control I noticed Yuijia trying to hide her tears as she’s leaning up against me and of course I started up again. I do hope the girls are able to come back for a visit again one day down the road but most of all, I hope they remember that one week of camp.